Velandy Manohar, MD.,
Distinguished Life Fellow- Am. Psychiatric Assoc.
10 25 21
Six tips to enhance immunity
CDC Features series|October 4, 2021
A healthy lifestyle offers many benefits, including helping to prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases. Another important benefit is that healthy routines enhance your immunity.
The immune system is the body’s way of protecting itself from infection and disease; it fights everything from cold and flu viruses to serious conditions such as cancer.
Our immune systems are complex and influenced by many factors. Vaccines build immunity against specific diseases. Some additional ways you can strengthen your immune system are eating well, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough sleep, not smoking, and avoiding excessive alcohol use.
If you need help obtaining nutritious food, see resources at USDA Nutrition Assistance Programexternal icon. You can also call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1–866–3–HUNGRY or 1–877–8–HAMBRE to find resources such as meal sites, food banks, and other social services.
Eating well means emphasizingexternal icon plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and fat–free or low–fat milk and milk products. Eating well also means limiting saturated fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.
Eating well provides multiple nutrients that support optimal immune function. Be aware, however, that too much of some vitamins and minerals can be harmful. Talk to your health care provider if you think you need nutritional supplements.
Be physically active
Regular physical activity helps you feel better, sleep better, and reduce anxiety. Combined with eating well, physical activity can help a person maintain a healthy weight.
Maintain a healthy weight: [Research associates excess body weight with COVID-19 mortality | MDLinx- The main finding from the analysis is a statistically significant positive association between COVID-19 mortality and the proportion of the overweight in adult populations spanning 154 countries," Beladi said. "This association holds across countries belonging to different income groups and is not sensitive to a population's median age, proportion of the elderly, and/or proportion of females."]
Excess weight can affect how your body functions. Obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more in adults, is linked to impaired immune functions. Obesity may also lower vaccine effectiveness for numerous diseases, including influenza, hepatitis B, and tetanus.
Safe ways to help maintain a healthy weight include reducing stress, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular physical activity.
Get enough sleep
Scientific evidence is building that sleep loss can negatively affect different parts of the immune system. This can lead to the development of a wide variety of disorders.
Smoking can make the body less successful at fighting disease. Smoking increases the risk for immune system problems, including rheumatoid arthritis.
Avoid too much alcohol
Over time, excessive alcohol use can weaken the immune system.
Immunity is your body’s defense against foreign organisms. Taking care of yourself will help your immune system take care of you.
Research associates excess body weight with COVID-19 mortality
MedicalXpress Breaking News-and-Events|October 4, 2021
Links between obesity and mortality have become increasingly evident, since the earliest pandemic of the 21st century, leading researchers from The University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to investigate if excess body weight may have been associated with high rates of COVID-19 mortalities around the globe.
Lead principal investigator Hamid Beladi, UTSA's Janey S. Briscoe Endowed Chair in Business, and his colleagues recently published a novel study in Public Health in Practice analyzing plausible associations of COVID-19 mortality and excess weight in nearly 5.5 billion adults from 154 countries around the world.
To identify potential patterns in data, the researchers employed cutting-edge techniques of statistical analyses.
"The main finding from the analysis is a statistically significant positive association between COVID-19 mortality and the proportion of the overweight in adult populations spanning 154 countries," Beladi said. "This association holds across countries belonging to different income groups and is not sensitive to a population's median age, proportion of the elderly, and/or proportion of females."
Beladi added that when the proportion of the overweight people in a country's adult population is one percentage point higher than the proportion of the overweight in a second country's adult population, based on this study, it is reasonable to predict that COVID-19 mortality would be 3.5 percentage points higher in the first country than it would be in the second.
"The average individual is less likely to die from COVID-19 in a country with a relatively low proportion of the overweight in the adult population, all other things being equal, than she or he would be in a country with a relatively high proportion of the overweight in the adult population," Beladi said.
The study's authors say that, clinically, excess body weight is related to several comorbidities that can lead to an increasingly severe course of and consequent death from COVID-19. Metabolic disorders, for example, can predispose individuals to a poorer COVID-19 outcome. Since excess body weight can result in a greater volume and longer duration of contagion, it can also lead to a higher level of exposure to COVID-19.
They added that on average, the COVID-19 pandemic has been more fatal for adult populations residing in parts of the world characterized by excess body weight.
The researchers believe their findings can be used to uphold public policy regulations on the food industry, to the extent that it profits off the sales of processed foods, foods high in salt, sugar and saturated fats.
With the death toll from the current pandemic exceeding 4.5 million, the group's main findings call for immediate and effective regulations that are long overdue, Beladi said.
"Some firms in the food industry have taken the liberty of using the pandemic as a platform for marketing in ways that are all but conducive to restraining body weight," he explained. "Our observed association, between COVID-19 mortality and the share of the overweight in nearly 5.5 billion adults residing across 154 countries that host almost 7.5 billion people around the globe, serves as a caution against putting more lives at stake."